Another Chapter

Well, here we are again.  Another homeschool year has been successfully wrapped up.  My papers have all been filed and approved by the state (thank you, Lord!).  We are all set for the next year.  Sometimes I really wish we lived in a state that was not as restrictive in their homeschooling laws.  It’s pretty ridiculous considering that we are choosing to homeschool our children and WANT them to have a great education.  Are there some people out there who would slack in educating their kids?  I’m sure there are.  However, I also believe that the vast majority of parents who homeschool are doing so to give their kids a better education than is available at public school.  Yes, we homeschool because we value what they learn.  Yes, we are trying, to a certain extent, to shelter them from the world until they are old enough to discern for themselves.  Yes, we do want them to learn certain things that the world doesn’t value.  But ultimately, we also want them to know how to read, how to write legibly, and how to use math in real-world situations.  I have, in our “official” seven years of homeschooling, switched curriculum THREE times.  I am, so far, happy with what we are primarily using now, but I also wouldn’t mind trying out a couple more.  (Cue our oldest begging me not to switch it up on her…AGAIN)  The point is, as homeschooling parents, we are constantly trying to find the “best” curriculum for our children.  We WANT them to learn.  We even, dare I say, want them to LOVE to learn.  We want learning to be fun and engaging.  We want our kids to finish up the year saying, hey, remember when we learned about x, or y, or z?  So all I’m trying to say is, can we make it a little easier on parents at the end of the year?  Can we maybe not make homeschooling such a process?  Well, since we have our own theories on why “they” might not want that to be the case, I won’t ask that question with any sincerity.

Copyright Roses at Dawn 2019
Copyright RosesatDawn 2019

Ultimately, it is what it is and we will keep plugging along.  I will keep doing our end of the year assessments, we will keep getting each child “evaluated”, and we will keep teaching our children values, morals, and truth.  I will keep stressing about whether we are doing enough, whether there is a better curriculum we could be using, and whether or not our children actually understand that we are, ultimately, doing this for their own good! God Bless!

Proverbs 22:6

6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

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A Baby is Born

I started a blog post for Easter Sunday on Thursday. I figured I would finish it up on Good Friday.

I also decided to clean out the fridge on Friday.

And I needed to write out a grocery list for Saturday. So I decided to do it Friday.

Long story short, I didn’t do any of those things on Friday. Instead, we had a baby. Baby D made his entrance into this world in two hours flat. Our midwife didn’t make it in time for the birth. Our eldest daughter (A) caught him as he came out. She did a wonderful job and is now considering becoming a midwife. As she says, “I didn’t realize catching the baby was so important!” We are feeling so blessed right now. He is healthy and alert and so interested in the world around him. His siblings are in love with him and want to be near him all the time. My husband and I are still catching our breaths and trying to function on limited sleep. This newborn stage is so precious and so fleeting at the same time. I have grown to appreciate this stage more and more every time we go through it. I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Psalm 139:13-14

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

 

Maybe I will have my Easter Sunday post finished in time for next year!

God Is In Control

“But I’m ready. I really am. Mentally, physically, I’m ready.”

Babies come when babies are ready.

“But if I wait much longer, then I might lose this great mental state I’m in.”

Babies come when babies are ready.

“But we are ready! I have the clothes washed, folded, and put away! Our friend made us some adorable diaper covers and lots of great pre-folds. We are ready!”

Babies come when babies are ready.

“But I’M ready.”

Babies come when babies are ready.

“But, it’s time! I’m ready! We’re ready! The kids are ready!”

Babies come when babies are ready.

“But God, it’s time!”

Copyright RosesatDawn 2019
Copyright RosesatDawn 2019

Apparently though, it’s not time. It’s not on my time, it’s not on anyone’s time except God’s. Now I know that I am using waiting for our baby as an example, but this applies to anything in life. How many times have we said, “But God, it’s time! I’m ready! Let’s do this!” And God says, “Wait.” How many times do we try and control a situation that is out of our control? I know for myself, it is far more often than I would like to admit. I want things to go perfectly. I want everything to be done on my time and in my way. Oftentimes, I don’t even realize I am doing this. I don’t even realize that I am trying so hard to make everything the way I want it to be, that I am actually completely messing everything up. I’m making things worse, not better. And that can be a hard pill to swallow. I am already resistant to change, but to find out that I am actually making things worse by trying to control what is going on around me? Ouch. That one really hits home.

Philippians 4:6

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

I know that a lot of my control issues are anxiety driven. I am aware of this. But being aware of where my issues are coming from, and actually changing them, well, that’s a whole other ballgame.

Jeremiah 32:27

“I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?

The good news is that I don’t have to change and “control” these issues on my own. In fact, I can’t. Trust me, I’ve tried! All I have to do, all I have ever had to do, is hand these issues over to God. I just have to let go of my wanting to control and make a change happen for everything to actually change. Now isn’t that a novel concept?

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,

“plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future

No matter what life throws at us, no matter what hardships we have to overcome, God is bigger than them all. Life is so much sweeter when we give up our control and let the Creator of the entire world control our lives. He knows what is best for us. He knows the plans He has for us. Let us stop fighting against Him and just let Him control our future. He will never let us down. No matter what happens, God is in control!

Isaiah 41:10

So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

 

How do you deal when life is not going the way you want?

Three Day Quote Challenge: Day 1

It’s been quiet around here. Sorry about that. I wish I could say it was because I was taking a much needed break and recharging and reconnecting with God and my family. Unfortunately, this has not been the case. The truth of the matter is that I have been working on our end of the year homeschool evaluations. These have taken up all of my brain space and I have not had any leftover. Now that they are finally finished (Halleluiah!) I am hoping to get back to my regular once a month posting. 🙂 And I figure, what better way to do so then to kick off with three days of posting!

Way back in May, Linda from Amazing God Stories nominated me for the Three Day Quote Challenge. I am finally getting around to actually doing it! I have been especially enjoying her Life is a Beach posts and the pictures of her adorable granddaughter.

Ok, onto the first quote:

If you don’t have children, who will you download your files to? –J.K.

Copyright RosesatDawn 2018
Copyright RosesatDawn 2018

This quote came from my husband. Can you tell he works with computers all day? We were driving in the car one day with the kids and were talking about the point of life. All of a sudden this phrase just popped out of his mouth. It was funny at the time and still makes me laugh, but it is also so true. What is the point of living and learning if we don’t have anyone to pass our knowledge down to? Of course it is good to learn and grow for ourselves, but without passing on our knowledge, how can we hope to influence the world towards good? If we keep all of our life experiences and knowledge gained through those experiences to ourselves, then really, what was the point of them? I know that some would argue that it is the betterment of ourselves. Sure, to some extent that is true, as it should be. But, that is also ultimately a selfish viewpoint. And selfishness is something this world has too much of. We should seek to share our knowledge with others so that we can bring others and through that sharing, ourselves, closer to God. So whether your children are biological, adopted, or otherwise, download your files to them. Pass the knowledge, love, and life onwards!

 

Proverbs 22:6

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old,

he will not depart from it.

 

I would like to nominate Christina from Justified and Redeemed. She is a wonderful young woman who is well on her way to blossoming into an example of a Proverbs 31 woman. She is a great example for all young women going through their season of singleness as well as for the rest of us. I learn a lot from her posts and always leave with something more to think about and ponder. Head on over and check her out. 🙂

The rules of the challenge are as follows:

Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.

For 3 days, provide a quote each day and why you like or chose that quote.

Nominate one or more bloggers each of the three days for the Challenge and then send them a comment letting them know they have been nominated.

(When you receive a nomination, if you’re too busy, you can do it later if need be.)

Optimism is not my forte

Psalm 34:1

I will bless the Lord at all times,

his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

I am not an optimistic person by nature. I am more of a ‘the glass is half empty and is most likely going to stay that way’ type of person. This is probably part of the reason this verse has resonated so much with me. I want to be the type of person who is constantly blessing God and thanking Him for all the blessings in my life. And there are so many blessings. But they are so hard for me to see at times, and I become overwhelmed with LIFE and when I open my mouth, it isn’t praises that come out. It’s complaints, it’s whining, it’s why oh why aren’t things easier?? And let’s just be honest, it isn’t a good model for the children, my husband, or even myself. After all, if we let ourselves dwell on the negative, what are we going to think about? If we take our focus off of God and all that He has blessed us with, we don’t see those blessings. We just see the negative in life. And my friends, there is a whole heap of negative. We see it everywhere. In the news, online, in magazines, EVERYWHERE there is Satan trying to bring us down. Trying to distance us from all the good in life. All the good that God has placed there. The laughter of a child, the sun shining through the trees, the colors of autumn, the smell of freshly cut grass. All of it, goes away as soon as you take your eyes off of it.

Copyright 2018 RosesatDawn
Copyright 2018 RosesatDawn

My husband is a wonderful reminder to me of all the good God has given us. Anytime I start to feel this way, he will so often, even without me sometimes saying anything, mention something good that God has blessed us with. And with that reminder, I am prompted to bring my focus back to God. It isn’t always a smooth process, honestly, it’s usually with me kicking and screaming. But I’m trying. I’m trying to let go and let God. I have heard this phrase so many times in my life. And I’m going to be honest, I never truly understood it. If you think about it, what does it actually mean? It means total and complete surrender. And as a child, when I first accepted Jesus as my Savior, I didn’t understand surrender. I still don’t completely get it, but I feel like as a thirty-something year old, I am beginning to understand. Even just a teeny tiny bit. Because after all, it’s never too late. It’s never too late to accept God’s gift to us. It’s never too late to change your life path. Even though it won’t be easy, it’s never too late to change your focus and behavior. You won’t get it right the first or second, or even the thirtieth time! But, we need to pick ourselves back up, recommit to following our God, and step out in faith. I am not an optimistic person, but taking this step of faith, is for me, a step towards optimism itself. If I can believe that God sent His only Son to die on the cross to forgive my stupid, repetitive sins, then I guess I can count myself as an optimistic pessimist who is learning to bless our God at all times, and to continually, no matter how difficult life may be, praise Him with my words and actions.

Are you an optimist, pessimist, or a realist?

The Essence of Life

I think that a lot of people can agree, that as a society, we have begun a downward spiral. Without even touching on the ridiculousness of today’s he/she/it debacle, I think the majority of people are just shaking their heads in bewilderment. When did we lose sight of God’s will in our country? There are probably a lot of factors that led to this, but I think one of the biggest happened when we stopped viewing children as blessings. The moment we made it OK to kill our unborn children, we pretty much said everything else is permissible. I’m sure there are people who will disagree with me. People who will say that is over-reaching a bit. Well, I disagree, and so does the Bible.

Psalm 139:13-16

13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are

wonderful, I know that full well.   15 My frame was not hidden from you when

I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the

earth.   16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were

written in your book before one of them came to be.

God formed us each, individually inside of our mothers’ wombs. He wrote out a plan for each and every one of us. We all have a purpose. God has a plan for all of us. Can you imagine the pain it causes Him when a child’s plan is ripped out of His book because of abortion? Can you imagine the tears He cries when one of His blessings is rejected?

Baby
Copyright RosesatDawn 2018

I know how much I hurt when thinking about abortion, I can only imagine the pain of our Creator when one of His creations is destroyed.

James 1:17

17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the

Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

A child, no matter how conceived, is a gift from God. A child, no matter what his or her needs may be, is a good and perfect gift from our Father in Heaven. When did we make receiving a gift from God into something that can be thrown away? Something that can be destroyed simply because he or she doesn’t fit into our life plan?   How incredibly selfish we have become. I feel as though this has contributed to the self-centeredness that permeates our society today. No wonder so many have a self-entitled attitude. It is what I want, when I want, no matter what.

But life is so much more than that. Life is so much more than ourselves. God calls us to love one another as we love ourselves. He calls us to love Him above all. And if we love Him above all, how could we reject a gift from Him?

Matthew 22:37-39

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

Life is about more than what we can get out of it. It is about more than ourselves. We are called to put our humanly wants and desires to the side and follow His leading. Ultimately, we will all be judged for what we did, or what we failed to do.

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

13 Now all has been heard;     

here is the conclusion of the matter:

Fear God and keep his commandments,     

for this is the duty of all mankind.

14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,     

including every hidden thing,     

whether it is good or evil

But also remember that our God is a loving and forgiving God. If we seek to love Him with everything we have in us, if we seek to give Him our all, when we stumble and fall, He will forgive. He always does.

John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son,

That whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

If He sent His one, and only Son to us, to forgive us, to save us, to love us, then what right do have to reject His gifts? When a child is thrown to the side, it is like throwing Jesus to the side. We are saying God’s gifts, ALL of them, don’t matter to us. We reject them. And in rejecting them, we condemn ourselves to being cut off from our loving, forgiving Father, who like an earthly father, only wants what is best for His children. All His children. He created His children, He loves His children, and His heart bleeds for His children.

I shudder at the “women’s movement”. Their absurdity makes me sick to my stomach. Their violence disgusts me. Their hate saddens me. Anyone who truly has “women’s rights” as their main objective, would seek to protect the weakest of us. And the weakest, the most vulnerable, are the unborn. The beautiful, unborn babies who cannot speak for themselves. Think of all the women murdered because someone decided they didn’t want them. Think of all the innocent boys who will not have the chance to become men. All those lives thrown away like trash. All the blessings they could have become. All the change they could have made. All just rejected like garbage. Anyone who truly wants “equality” would fight against abortion.

Matthew 18:10

10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell

you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.

There are some bright spots. There are some people out there who are fighting for these precious little gifts from heaven. People like Judie Brown, from American Life League, who fights daily for them. People, just like you and me, who have made a choice. A choice to protect those weaker than themselves. A choice to stand for what is right in the eyes of God, not what is right in the eyes of society. Society’s values change. No one can ever seem to constantly agree on what is right or wrong. If it is all fluid, then what is the point? If values can change, then are they actually values at all? We know God is never changing. What is right and wrong in His eyes is always constant. He is our rock to cling to in turbulent times. May we ever seek His will. No matter what society says.

Matthew 18:1-5

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them.

3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

The big “S”

tinymossflowers

If you are a homeschooler, have ever considered homeschooling, have ever known anyone who homeschooled, or have ever in any way ever heard the word homeschooling, then you probably have heard the debate about socialization.

First, a little background about myself. I am a product of homeschooling. I was homeschooled from second grade all the way up until eighth grade. My parents then made the decision to send me to high school. Also, I am an introvert. A BIG time introvert. I don’t like going out, and anytime we do get out of the house, I can’t wait to get back home. But I did just fine in high school. I made friends. I even still keep in touch with one of those friends (ok, so I’m really bad at keeping up at correspondence, but we do see each other every once in a while!). And I can function in the REAL WORLD!! 🙂

trillium

Anyways, back to my point…I have to admit I was worried. Worried that our kids would have difficulty socializing. I’m not sure why I was worried, but I’m sure all the media hype I heard growing up and then as an adult didn’t help. I guess maybe it is just one of those things all parents worry about from time to time. Will my kids be able to do x, y, and z? Will they be competent members of society and not have to rely on us to function for the rest of their lives? Silly worries, I know. Kids grow up, they mature, they get out of the house and they do just fine!

After all, how many “famous” people were homeschooled and we don’t even really think about? Yes, I know it was common during a certain time period, but why have our concerns changed? Why was it so much more ‘acceptable’ then but not now? Just because we now have a public school system doesn’t mean our children can’t and shouldn’t be homeschooled. Again, just because times have changed, that doesn’t make us any less competent to school our children.

hikingpath

A while back, the kids and I were in the grocery store doing our shopping. I was still pregnant with baby Z and it was a Wednesday. A random day in the middle of the week where if the kids were in traditional school, I would have been there with just the two little boys. But I wasn’t. I was there with all five of them. All five of our “un-socialized”, homeschooled, children. We get lots of compliments when in the store about how well behaved they are. And those compliments make me feel like we are doing something right. Our kids know how they are expected to behave in public, and they do, for the most part. However, when someone says hello to them, they are a little hesitant to respond. Part of this is due to shyness. Part of this is due to our “don’t talk to strangers!” teaching. Both of these reasons are fine! So back to me and the five un-socialized, homeschooled kids in the grocery store. We were walking down one of the aisles and there was an older woman doing her shopping. As I was going about picking up whatever it was I needed, A noticed the older woman drop her paper towels. And without me noticing, or realizing what had happened, she walked over, picked them up, and helped the woman place them in her cart. And my heart soared. I was ridiculously proud of her (as all parents are when we catch our children doing something good and right without prompting). But more than that, I realized that I shouldn’t be worried about whether or not our kids are receiving enough socialization. Who is really in charge of measuring that anyways? How do we know how much they really need? Not to mention, you do realize we have six kids? At home? All day long? Do you even realize how much “socializing” goes on here on a daily basis without us even really thinking about it?

heartofstone

When my husband and I first got together, we already knew we were going to homeschool. It was one of those things that didn’t need to be discussed. But I admit, I did have some preconceived notions that have not really panned out the way I thought they were going to. One of those has been socialization. I was really hoping to find and participate in a homeschool group of some kind. I thought about how nice it would be for the kids to have some friends outside of each other. But as time has gone on and there are still no homeschool groups in a reasonable distance to be found, I have come to realize that God is not calling for our kids to be out and about. He has placed us where we are, with the resources available (or not!) to us for a reason. I really feel that He wants our children to learn to be friends with each other. He wants them to rely on each other for companionship. After all, how many times have we told them, “At the end of the day, all you really have is your family. Family is what matters.”

Now I’m not going to pretend to understand God’s ways…(Isaiah 55:8)…ahahhahaha……ahem. But, I choose to believe there is a reason. He wants our children to rely on each other for a reason that is above my understanding. He provides for everything and He has plans for each of us. They are not always what we think they should be. But they are always for our betterment (Jeremiah 29:11). So I’m going to choose to stop worrying about whether or not our children can say hi to the nice, older woman at the grocery store. I’m going to stop worrying that they “have no friends” outside of each other. Because God has a plan. And His plan is WAY better than anything we could ever imagine.

Proverbs 22:6

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

 

P.S. I received this book as a young girl, and now A is enjoying it as well. It is a wonderful story of a young woman who, along with her family, moves away from her home to a new area of the country to help establish a new church. She ends up learning to do without her “friends” and rely on her family for fellowship and companionship. As the story unfolds, we find out that God had a very specific reason for having this happen to her. It is a wonderful example of what I am trying to convey. God has a reason for everything that happens, and His plans for our lives are so much better than our own. (Yes, this is an affiliate link, but the book review is completely my own and I am in no way receiving anything for writing it. I simply loved this book as a young girl and still find it to be relevant today!)

What do you worry about the most with your kids and about life in general?  How do you deal with those worries?